We were shocked and saddened beyond belief when we heard that a four-year-old girl was tragically killed in a horrific accident during the Yarmouth Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 24.
The news was heartbreaking. The unimaginable happened. A precious child had died. Words cannot ease the pain and sorrow her family is surely feeling in the wake of this tragedy. Our hearts ache for them and we, as a community, extend our collective sympathy to everyone touched by the accident that rocked the Yarmouth area.
Unfortunately, while our thoughts go out to the family, there is little anyone can do or say to lessen their burden of grief. While gestures of condolences are important at a time such as this, words and kind gestures cannot mend the broken hearts of those who loved their precious little girl. Time may some day heal their pain, but a void will always remain.
A four-year-old has only begun to live. Now, her family and friends have many unanswered questions to which there are no easy answers. Those who are grieving will have to find comfort in happy memories and hope that there is a grand plan in which such a tragedy makes some sort of sense, even though it all now seems so senseless.
The loss of a child is the worst pain any parent can suffer. It cuts to the quick and leaves one feeling hollow with an intense bereavement. Family and friends have rallied around this child’s parents and siblings, but their healing will require great inner strength and deep-rooted courage. If there can be any good in such a tragedy, perhaps it is the opportunity it provides to help others put their lives into perspective.
This tragedy must teach us that in the overall scheme of things, we all must realize that material things are not important. We must come to understand that our careers and the money we earn are not the first priority in our lives.
Unfortunately, it often takes a tragedy like this one to make us look at reality and assess our lives. We must think about the good things we all have in our lives and be truly thankful for the riches we have.
We must be reminded that there is much to be thankful for and it is heartbreaking to think that it takes the loss of a child to make us stop and take stock of our world. Think about the precious things that are important in life such as your health, a walk in the sunshine, the feel of the rain or snow on your face, the pleasures of your family, the panoramic views of nature, the experience of friendship and the joys of a child’s laughter.
Remember these things. They are the important qualities in our lives, not the size of our house, thickness of our stock portfolio, depth of our swimming pool, how many trips we can take in a year, the number of designer suits we have in our closets, or model of our car.
The holiday season was just getting started and it was supposed to be a time of fun and happiness, a time of traditions and innocence; a time of magic and fellowship. This little girl’s untimely death underlines how fleeting life can be. Some parents never pause to appreciate their children, to talk with them, read to them, play with them, sing to them, laugh with them, or tuck them in at night.
You are missing a lot if you’re that type of parent. This tragedy must be a stark wake-up call for you. Never assume that your children know how much you love them. Tell them every day. Telling someone you love them never gets old, so tell your children how important they are to you.
And never let your children think that you work so hard to provide “the good things in life” when what they really need are your love and attention. What they truly deserve is your undivided attention and your warmth embrace. What they long for is to be in our presence and to feel safe and warm.
Never take your children for granted because, as we’ve seen, we never know when tragedy may strike. Every moment you have with your children is precious so take the most of the time you have with them.
A local family grieves for the loss of their precious daughter and our hearts go out to them. We feel deeply for their sorrow and wish that such tragedies would never happen but life has a way of throwing these curves and we pray that somehow, they will find their way through the darkness that has enveloped them.
Learn from this tragedy. When you have a chance to tell your child how much you care, don’t miss it. When you go home from work tonight or from whatever activity has taken you away from home, give your children a hug and a kiss. Let them know you love them, because some day you may not have that chance, and sadly, that’s the view from here.
Vernon Oickle was born and raised in Liverpool where he continues to reside with his family. He has worked for more than 30 years in community newspapers on the South Shore and is the author of 28 books.